2i4 HISTORY OF PERSIA CHAP, proposed the subjugation of China, on the double ground that the race or Chengiz had been expelled from that empire and also that the enterprise would be a holy war. The proposal was accepted with acclamation, two hundred thousand picked men were equipped, and the great army began its march. The Jaxartes was crossed at Otrar, the city which first saw the hordes of Chengiz Khan, and there the sudden illness and death of Tamerlane put an end to the enterprise. His Character and Achievements. — Tamerlane, the " Lord of the Conjunctions/'l was the greatest Asiatic conqueror known in history. The son of a petty chieftain, he was not only the bravest of the brave, but also profoundly sagacious, generous, experienced, and persevering ; and the combination of these qualities made him an unsurpassed leader of men and a very god of war adored by all ranks. Malcolm brands him for a massacre of his prisoners at Delhi, but, awful though this was, it was dictated by imperative military exigencies. Did not Napoleon act in a similar manner in the last year of the eighteenth century ? In the Institutes it is laid down that every soldier surrendering should be treated with honour and regard, a rule which, in striking contrast with the customs prevailing at the period, is remarkable for its humane spirit. The object of Tamerlane was glory, and, as in the case of all conquerors ancient or modern, his career was attended by terrible bloodshed. He sometimes ordered massacres by way of retribution or from policy, but there were few that had their origin in pure savagery. Again, Tamerlane was a devout Moslem, who, though he took advantage of the tenets of Islam for his own aggrandise*,-, ment, was nevertheless a patron of learned men, a founder of mosques and colleges, a writer of some merit, and fond of the game of chess. He was also careful to allow no favourites, but decided everything of importance himself,2 1 In the East it is believed that the great conjunctions of the planets portend the advent of super-men. 2 The first of his twelve maxims runs: " It is necessary that his words and his actions be his own. That is to say, that his soldiers and his subjects may know that what the king sayeth and doeth, he sayeth and cloeth for himself 5 and that no other person hath influence therein."